Casper College Requiring Masks, Doing In-Person Education

In its final plan released last week, Casper College announced that it would require face coverings in classrooms and its intention to proceed with the fall semester as planned.

The college is the last of Wyoming’s seven community colleges to unveil its plan, which received approval from the Casper-Natrona County Health Department earlier this month. It includes a heavy emphasis on hand sanitization and other hygiene, while requiring face masks in classrooms and in other settings where 6 feet of social distance isn’t possible.

In an email to campus sent last week, college president Darren Divine wrote that the plan was a “living document” that “will most certainly morph and evolve” as “conditions change and as advice and mandates” are instituted or relaxed.

The college, its six sister institutions, the University of Wyoming and all 48 school districts here have been undertaking efforts to build and finalize reopening plans for this fall. All of those institutions were closed by the state in mid-March, and they all switched to online-only learning for the duration of the spring semester.

Though UW and some other community colleges plan to finish in-person learning by Thanksgiving and wrap up 2020 online, Casper College calls for normal instruction through the semester. Still, the plan advises teachers to “plan your semester so that most or all hands-on instruction is completed by Thanksgiving break in the event we need to switch to remote instruction.”

Teachers are also instructed to record lectures if possible and to be flexible with students’ attendance due to illness. It also instructs professors to “hold students accountable for not wearing face coverings in class.” Hand sanitization is a recurrent theme throughout the 17-page document, and teachers are further “expected” to check their temperature before coming to campus each day. That, too, is a frequent pillar of other institutions’ reopening plans.

The college will institute spacing at various public locations, like the cafeteria, lounge areas and in waiting lines. Dorm occupancy will stay the same as any other semester, while some rooms will be kept open should a potentially ill student need to isolate or quarantine.

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